Posts in Change Your Life
S.O.S.

The best part about asking for advice from a trusted friend or mentor is the objectivity.

When you are facing down the barrel of a problem (or problemS with a fat capital Ssssss) you’re usually too close what’s going on to see the issue for what it is and find opportunities to solve it — without losing your shhhirt about it.

Asking for help can be terrifying, mostly because it shows you are vulnerable like everyone else. You spend all this time fortifying yourself for battle, handling problems by yourself, steeling your nerves. All the while, you’re on edge and crying on the inside, as your foundation crumble from all the battles.You wish you had help, but in order to get it you have to lower your defenses to let help through, leaving you open...

Objective advice allows you to see things for what they are, rather than what you think they are.

It’s an emotionless spark of insight on what’s going on. However emotionless doesn’t mean soulless. Trusted advice has care and concern behind it. It doesn’t come with expectations of what you should do or pity for what you can’t do, rather, it says ‘here’s something you might haven’t seen or thought about the problem.'

Advice gives you the chance to find different angles and perspectives to the problem and redefine what the your dealing with. 

A problem isn’t just a problem, it’s amplified by what we think and believe about it.

A negative hopeless problem is a lion roaring on your chest while you lay on the ground yelling, ‘why me?!’ An objective problem is recognizing that the lion is actually the size of an iPhone, and you can pick up the lion by its tiny tail and you can get up off the ground and show that baby iPhone-sized lion your teeth and strength.

When in doubt, ask a trusted confidant.

How do you know if you can trust someone? Ask yourself, 'does this persons advice help me, or does it help them / does it make them feel better about themselves?'

Does this person's advice help me, or just them?

And when you don’t feel like you have someone to trust, find an expert such as a therapist, or even better, someone who has been through what you’re going through.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

Instagram: @RENAISSANCE.LIFE

Related Insights

"I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better. I think that's the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself." — Elon Musk

"Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it." — Benjamin Franklin

"What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.”  ― Maya Angelou

Good Book Pairings

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Change Your Life

Time is difficult to see in a long-term mindset.

We spend our time like its an infinite resource, meanwhile, a bus could hit us tomorrow and game over.

Worried about the future, we lose track of what’s in front of us.
Scared or ignorant of the past, we lose track of what matters to us.

Childhood, school, maybe college and grad school, career, marriage, house, kids, and retirement — that’s the broad picture we paint in America.

If you’re lucky, eat well and exercise, you live to the ripe old age of 90+ with your mind and body still working.

But how much time do you spend doing what you hate? How much time have you given to pursuing your dreams and building a life that means something?

Until I️ started my Renaissance journey, I️ was asleep. (And I’m not talking about the kind of sleep you do on a bed) I️ was asleep to what's possible. I️ was asleep to the power of choice we all possess. I️ was asleep to the fact that everything that is made up around us was built by other humans, and once you realize that, you can change it. (Paraphrasing Steve Jobs here.)

We each need to decide,

What does living mean to you?

Anyone of us could get a crappy job, save up and fly to Australia and surf for a month.

Well, what about responsibilities?

Good or bad, responsibilities are choices made in the past.  

Your life is a tapestry of choices. Some choices God or fate made for you. Others were made by the people in this world who came before you. But the decision you choose to make right now, they are up to you.

You choose to let your problems define you — or you choose to let them be an opportunity of defining your character and giving you a chance to share your story with others.

You choose to do work you hate — or practice coming up with ideas and building up skills to create a career that you love.

You choose to give into fear and do nothing — or try something, despite the fear and potential failure, and prove to yourself that you are confident enough to choose life.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." — Steve Jobs

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." — Confucius

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." — Charles R. Swindoll

How Can I Make A Difference?

I’ve been so focused on my own problems, I’ve lost track of everyone else’s and my abilities to help others and myself.

Do I️ need to change myself to make a difference?
I️ know I️ want to, but I️ really need to?

Do I️ need to be smarter first? More lively and energetic? Healthier? More experienced? More confident? Wealthier?

Do I️ need to be anything other than who I️ am to make my dreams happen or to be a force for good in this world?

No. I️ think not.

Even if I️ never fix my health problems, or never achieve the success that I️ want, I️ can still make a difference. 

I️ can still do what I️ am able.

You are all that you need to make a difference.

Change happens by living. The more I️ align myself and life towards truth, my truth, the strong and more capable and charismatic I️ will become.

Improvement comes, not to the perfect, but to the broken, downtrodden, messed up, tired, poor, hardworking and purpose-driven folks who set their mind and hearts towards a better life and do all they can to make I­t­ happen.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." —  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." — Steve Jobs

"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it." — Bruce Lee

Reading Muscles

Saying ‘I hate reading’ is like saying ‘I hate green foods’. You probably don’t know if you like it because you’ve barely tried it. You might still think broccoli taste awful, but maybe you or your family just sucks at making broccoli and are great at overcooking it. (Sorry mom, I didn’t mean it)

The biggest problem with reading is that people don’t tell you why you should read in the first place.

Reading is A straight path toward success. 

(Whatever success means to you. It could mean swimming in a hot tub full of money, or maybe just having flexible work hours) If you want to succeed, if you want to be more than a beginner, and if you seek change and have a desire to live an extraordinary life — start reading. 

Knowledge, Skills, the ability to learn and connect ideas is a surefire way to become a linchpin.

Reading opens up your mind to infinite ideas and possibilities. (Put that on a motivational poster and smoke it) Reading expands your ability to think and see, it wakes you up to new worlds and new perspectives on life. (And that goes for fiction and nonfiction too)

I can’t even count the number of ideas reading has sparked for me. Half of my writing ideas were prompted by a word or phrase that I️ read in a book. And that’s the crazy things about books: they are a summation of experience, expertise, and ideas. Ideas that can change your life, and the lives of thousands of people out there facing their own challenges.

It’s okay if you don’t quite understand a book. When did not understanding become a sign that your an idiot?! Not understanding simply means you haven’t understood it yet

How to Build Up Your Reading Muscles

The act of reading a book is like going to the gym. Each time you do I­t­ you’re working your reading muscles and getting mentally stronger. Reading The Count of Monty Christo is going to feel like you’re jogging through pudding compared to reading The Hunger Games. And reading Plato is going to feel like someone strap hippos to your feet compared to reading Make Good Art. (Both fantastic, but Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art is much easy to understand than Plato) You don’t start working out by going to the gym and bench pressing 400 lbs on your first go. You start gradually and work you’re way up.

Each time you read new a book, pick something that feels like I­t­ might be a little out of your comfort zone. 

Read EVERYTHING that interests you, and be open to new genres that might not. Ideas can come from anywhere. It’s okay to put a book down if you dislike I­t­, but never put a book down because you /think/ that you would dislike I­t­.

I­t­ bears repeating, reading is your path to success. Whatever you want to learn, whoever you want to be, there’s a book out there for you to help guide your way. Mastery begins with the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

Get reading.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading." — David Bailey

"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." — Will Rogers

"Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well." — Mark Haddon

The Confidence of Your Inner Child
“Don’t be mad, 
cause I’m doing me
Better than you doing you.”

Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)

What did you love to do when you were a kid? (What did you love to do when you were alone, or with friends?) Was it build huge structures and worlds out of legos? Was it drawing weird creatures and imagining them coming to life?

When I was growing up I did so many things.  I would draw, build legos, fight imaginary battles with a tree branch as a sword (still have the scar to prove it) My sisters and I grew up in a great neighborhood with a flock of kids the same age. We would bike, skateboard, run around, climb things we weren’t supposed to and all manner of shenanigans. (My own version of sandlot)  

The older I get, the more value I see in being childish. I have a strong gut feeling that the closer we get to our inner child, the closer we are to our true self. Our true self is the kind of person we would love to be, someone who doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable things, or from trying new things. Someone who just does things. Someone who is resilient, kind, insightful, opinionated and capable living past fear, and boldly moving on from failure.

Our inner child Is filled with wonder and possibility and has no doubt about who he or she is, no fear of failure, no worry or stress about what to do or who to be. Our inner child just is — he / she loving who we are, the way we are.

I think as kids we feel invincible. 
We don’t shy away from things, because what’s there to shy away from?

But somewhere down the line circumstance tells us to be cautious.
And in some cases, the circumstance is right. We should be cautious. Crossing the street can be dangerous. Sometimes stranger-danger is no joke. And if you jump off enough things, you’re bound to injure yourself.  The problem is being cautious is a slippery slope towards being hesitant.

We are hesitant to make new friends because, ‘what if they don’t like me?’
We are hesitant to try new things because, ‘what if I suck at it?’
We are hesitant to go outside our comfort zones because, ‘what if I embarrass myself?’

And the inner child in all of us says 'So What?'

Kids don’t think, ‘man I really suck at this’. 

No! They think they’re great at everything! And maybe their josh-awful at it, but at least they are trying. To master anything, you must start as a beginner, just like everyone else, and then you must give it your all.

So what if I embarrass myself? Own it. Go ahead embarrass yourself. What’s it to them? By stepping outside your comfort zone, you’re doing what 80% (just made up that number) of the population won’t do. Be proud of that.

As humans, we are not invincible. (Just vincible) But that doesn’t mean we play our life safe. Be cautiously optimistic. Feel invincible while being smarter too.
You might end up worse, or better off. Play it safe and you’ll only get the same.

Your challenge today is to do something you loved to do as a kid. (Something no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do... scratch that — especially what no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do)

It could be something as simple as an activity you haven’t done in years: 
Throw frisbee with a friend, play pretend and build an epic imaginary adventure across your city, join a pickup basketball game with strangers at the YMCA. Build a pillow fort with your kids. (Building a pillow fort is always a great idea)


Whatever you do, the sillier the better. There are no brownie points for half-assing things. (Sure you could play Mario, but so is everyone else in the world, 50 years old and down)

Challenge: Do something childish.

Call a friend and invite them to do it too.

Take a photo, tell me what you did! tag me @renaissance.life on Instagram or email me Josh@renaissancelife.com. Make it public for all to see. Make them jealous of your new childlike freedom.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children. ” ― Jim Henson

"I think you have to keep a childlike quality to play music or make a record." — Beck

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" — Eleanor Roosevelt

And sometimes you need something different.

Sleep is a great mood palette cleanser.

But sometimes I'll find myself in a super funk even sleep won’t phase it. 

The best way to get out of a funk is to focus on your physical state.

Change your environment. Get up and move. Go to the gym. Grab some healthy food. Call someone you enjoy talking too. Our physical state directly contributes to our mental state (and vise-versa). Change one and you can change the other.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

P.S. Shorter post tonight, Gabriella broke her wrist  rollerskating : /

Sometimes you just need to sleep on it.

Bad moods, bad days, poor decisions, big decisions still needing to be made... sometimes sleep is the best reset.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Sleep on it. Refresh yourself. Wake up with a better mood, better day, and better decisions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

P.S. Shorter post tonight, Gabriella broke her wrist  rollerskating : /

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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"Sleep is the best meditation." — Dalai Lama

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?" — Ernest Hemingway

"Tired minds don't plan well. Sleep first, plan later." — Walter Reisch

How to Surround Yourself with Friends

You can compare yourself to others all day long, but it’s not going to make you a better you.

If your friend is thriving, be genuinely happy for them. Practice gratitude for their successes and happiness.

If your friend is having a tough time, be the person who lifts them up. Show up. Showing up will be one of the greatest things you can do for them.

Be inspired by others achievements.
If they can do it, so you can you.
If you can do it, so can I.

Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self.

It’s cliche and sounds like it should be on a Hallmark card, but it's true.

Being genuine is the best way to go through life. Sure you could tell white lies, maybe boast or exaggerate your life a hundred different ways, but when you are 100% you, (full of life, quirks, enthusiasm...) people go out of their way to be around you.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Bite-sized Insights

"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life." — William Morris

"Experts on romance say for a happy marriage there has to be more than a passionate love. For a lasting union, they insist, there must be a genuine liking for each other. Which, in my book, is a good definition for friendship." — Marilyn Monroe

"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood." — Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Plant Your Flag

“Distractions will do you in” — Drake

Rich Roll picked health.

Josh Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus picked Minimalism.

Sophia Amoroso picked fashion.

Tim Ferriss picked optimizing work.

Elon Musk picked online finances.

Jeff Bezos picked books.

They all have dozens of interests but they started with one.

It’s hard (maybe impossible) to build a personal brand or company around multiple interests when you’re at the beginning (I️ know, I’ve tried). It’s too confusing to your audience.

Trying to be all things to all people leaves you with nothing to show and no people. To rally fans around your ideas, you must first plant your flag into ONE thing you love.

Q: What’s the main cause behind what you do?

Plant your flag in a category you love, make it a lifelong pursuit, and as your audience grows to expand into your other passions.

Lifestyles aren’t made in a day, they’re made with consistent actions each day. Huge difference.

The biggest creativities and entrepreneurs didn’t start by doing and knowing it all. If you want to build your own unique lifestyle similar to who you look up to, plant your flag. Become really good at what you do, then expand into other interests. Your fans will follow. Eventually, your fans will love you for you (your weird, eclectic, quirky self), not just what you do. They come from what we do but stay for our personalities.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner 

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well." — Horace Walpole

BOOK: The One Thing by Gary Keller

Gear Doesn't Make The Artist

You don’t need the latest and greatest gear to become an exceptional creative.

A $3000 guitar will certainly sound better than a $50 one you bought at Walmart, but buying I­t­ won’t make you a better guitarist. 

An $8000 Leica camera over a beat up iPhone 6 won’t make you the next Chase Jarvis if you don’t even know the fundamentals of photography.

Equipment is expensive (especially if you are like me and want to learn EVERYTHING) and I­t­ adds up. And don’t forget about the lifestyle that is attached to each item. The maintenance, the accessories, and other costs to entry. While I️ love a shiny new instrument as much as the next Shmoesph, I️ don’t need I­t­ to play brilliantly. The equipment doesn’t make the creative. A well-made instrument will enhance the creator’s ability, however, it’s still a reflection of their hard work and time they’ve put in.

To be a better creator, we must hone and practice our passions. Over and over again, until they­ become instinct. 

Focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t.
Work with what you can afford right now, versus waiting to express your creativity when riches fall from the sky into your bosoms.

Be the person who sets the stage on fire with a crappy beat up instrument rather than a ten thousand dollar one with no skills to back up the luxury.

Essentially, what I’m saying is 

Don’t let your gear be better than you are.

Own your beat up gear with pride. And don't let lack of resources stop you from pursuing your art. Get creative, find ways around it. Make lack of resources a part of your art form.

As long as I­t­ works, you’ve got what you need. In the meantime, hone your passion and save up for something beautiful and elegant, worthy of all your hard work.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing
— Josh Waggoner

Follow the Renaissance on Instagram

Principle #2: Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change

Everything you want to be in life starts with what you do today, this day.

Today is a powerful change maker in our life story. What you do each today can make or break you, because a little time NOW compounds later. (Just like investing $)

Think about it: 

If you eat a tub of Ice Cream Today, you’re not going to get fat. Eating bad one day won’t kill you.
BUT (< big but there :), eating bad today, and the next day and the next WILL add up over time and take its toll on your health (and neck rolls).

The same thing works in the positive direction — losing weight, gaining muscle (got swol?)

Authors don’t write a book in a day.
Entrepreneurs don’t create a successful runaway business overnight.
Musicians don’t become famous after one show.

But doing something — anything — every day? That’s going to add up to something extraordinary.

Why do we live (on average) to the ripe old age of 90 or beyond?

Life doesn’t happen at once either. (I came, I saw, I stood in lines, I died)

Life is iterative, which is why each iteration — each day — is vitally important.

By focusing on what you do, the next action/moment, and aligning that action to your priorities, you turn yourself into a powerful force of massive change.

The results you seek in life might not show up tomorrow, but by doing the work today, you’ve planted the seeds of its reality.

Renaissance Life Principle #2:

Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change.

When we focus too much on the future or dwell too much on our past, we lose the ability to create change. 

Living for today is about being aware of what is important to you, prioritizing those over filler or shiny objects, and pursuing them consistently.

Most people see time as a disadvantage or enemy:

“How did time fly so quickly?”
“I never have enough time…”
“There’s not enough time in the day…”

(I’m guilty of these and more.)

When you decide to pursue a Renaissance Life, time can become your ally. By working on your goals each day, even just a little bit (even so small it feels like you didn’t make any progress) and developing the patience to Keep Pursuing, your goals are basically inevitable. 

Look, I know what some of you might be thinking, we can’t all walk on the moon, or be knighted by the Queen, (Sir Waggoner at your service), but we can create massive impact in our lives and in the lives of others by focusing on the little baby steps. Small actions create waves.

But what if today sucked? What if I miss a day (or week)? What if I failed miserably? What do I do then?

Look Forward. 

Failure, missteps, setbacks — they are part of the learning process. Look forward to the person you strive to be, take action immediately on your dreams, and you WILL be that person right now. Focus on the now, each second we are still breathing is a chance for us to make a change. Your fresh start comes the moment you decide to take create the change you wish to see. Take Small actions today!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner
 

Looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles

Gabriella and I did something fun tonight.

... No not that, get your mind out of the gutter.

We went rollerskating!

The Skate Place was my jam back in the middle school days.

Tricks. Pizza basically made out of cardboard. Trucking and Jamming.
Aka living the dream.

I bought a pair of skates for Gabriella for Christmas 🎄 so we went to go try them out.

The place hadn’t changed an ounce. The only thing that has changed was me. I had grown wiser yet also more anxious about my world. (Also taller, I’ve gained a few inches since middle school. I was definitely the tallest person there and I’m only 6 ft)

Before we went, we grabbed some dinner and hopped into Barnes and Nobles for a bit.

We always have fun in booklandia. (Well... aren’t you the life of the party Josh)

I wanted to find a book that will change my life, help me simplify and handle overwhelm better.

I asked Gabriella to help me find some and as we were looking she wisely said,

“If you’re looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles, you’re in the wrong place”.

She’s right of course.

If you’re looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles, you’re in the wrong place.

Books are windows into mastery and wisdom.

Books can give you the insights and answers you seek. But there comes a time where books aren’t going to work for you. To change your life you must do the work. You must make the hard decisions and take action towards the life you dream of. Same goes for talking, daydreaming, complaining, wishing — eventually you must decide whether you are just going to talk the talk for the rest of your life or also walk the walk.

The difference between those who have and those who don’t is consistent, persistent actions towards the life they want. Dreams don’t fall from a book, or plow into you as you go around the skating rink; Dreams happen through Bold actions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

"When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go." — Carol Burnett

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." Norman Vincent Peale

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." — Maya Angelou

What I Can Control

I can control my habits instead of my habits controlling me.

I can control my spending/money instead of debt/poverty defining my life.

I can control who I give my time to and how much time I give by being the owner of what I say YES or NO to.

I can control how my body, mind, and spirit feel through optimal nutrition and doing activities like music and dance that rejuvenate me.

I can't control every passing thought, but I can direct how my mind thinks. I can focus my mind on opportunity, abundance and creative expression through affirmations, mindfulness, and exercise.

I can control my actions, for actions speak loudest for what my life represents.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

Post inspired by The Daily Stoic Journal by Ryan Holiday

"The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you." — Tony Robbins

"Control your own destiny or someone else will." — Jack Welch

"At the end of the day, you're responsible for yourself and your actions and that's all you can control. So rather than be frustrated with what you can't control, try to fix the things you can." — Kevin Garnett

Get Some
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.
— Peter Marshall

Are you putting pen to paper?
Oil on the canvas?
Words in the mic?
Hands on the keys?

I don't care what's stopping you, or why it's stopping you from living the life of your dreams.

All I care about is the fact that it is stopping you. 

Let go of your expectations, let go of your assumptions and the shoulds you've created in your mind. Let go of the person you think you should be, and be the person you are. Be the voice of change. Wherever there was a triumph success to a mission, there was a beginning step into the unknown and fear.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights:

"You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." Zig Ziglar

A Worriers Guide to Living in the Moment

I­t­ was chilly outside. I️ was wearing a casual grey suit jacket with a camel colored scarf. The restaurant was hustle and bustle. I️ walked up to the counter and asked for a table for 2. The wait time was 20+ minutes and my lovely date was just leaving the gym, so I️ whipped out my kindle and started where I️ left off with Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within. Times fly’s way to fast (I️ never to read enough) And then she stepped in.

She was wearing a purple coat with a large black circular scarf. Her hair was prim and curly, and her eyes sparkled as she looked at me. Fortunately for me, she was (and is) mine. We embrace with a hug and I️ tell her how lovely she looks.

Dinner was excellent, the conversation was fun and very renaissance life. Lots of talk about how we wanted to become better and more capable than we are. We talked about friendships we wanted to cultivate and the life we wanted to live.

It’s a small moment, but a moment that will be etched into my memory (and now the internet lol) I️ was practicing the art of living in the moment and I­t­ was exceptional.


It’s hard for me to be in the present moment. It’s something I️ strive for, but I­t­ doesn’t come easy. It’s one of those skills (and I­t­ is a skill) that no one teaches you, but affects everything.

I worry a lot. More than I️ would like to admit. More than I️ am conscious aware of. But I️ don’t worry about things I️ can’t control — the weather, other people’s attitudes / moods, fortune’s favor — instead I️ worry about the future. I️ worry that who I️ want to be — an musician, author, entrepreneur, connector, artist.. — isn’t going to happen. That the me I️ am now isn’t the one that creates that version of me I️ picture. Basically, I️ worry that I’m not doing enough, being enough to align to my values.

I️ know this is bogus. I️ know intuitively that I️ can create radical change in my life at any moment, that my future isn’t set in stone no matter how old or young I️ am. Yet I️ can’t deny my anxieties.

That’s why I️ practice living in the moment. Developing a moment practice allows you to step out side of your self-centered nature and see the big picture. If worry and anxiety was a hurricane, mindfulness is viewing the hurricane from outer space. Most of the problems in our lives are created by ourselves. It’s not until you can step back and see that can you start designing how you want to live and how you can solve them.

 

Breathing Practice

I️ use Headspace in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day. Sometimes I’ll use I­t­ at night as well, or use oak to add a second time out for myself. Oak has a great guided feature with background noice (like rain) that really calms me down and allows me to focus in on the textures of my surroundings.

Most of my work day is on on on on on (repeat to infinity). Often times I’ll look up from my computer and half the day goes by without me having moved or given myself mental and emotional breaks.

I️ also challenge myself to see how many deep breathing exercises I️ can do in a day. I️ use Dr. Weil’s Deep breathing method: Inhale (nose) for a count of 4, Pause for a count of 7, and exhale for 8 seconds (mouth). Repeat 6 times.


Intentional Practice

The second living in the moment practice I️ do is actively telling myself to be intentional about a particular moment. (For example my dinner experience above) What you do is tell yourself to give 100% on whatever you are doing in this moment. If you’re eating lunch, focus exclusively on eating. The taste, smell, textures, feelings. Your mind is always going to wander, and that okay (perfectly normal). The mission is to practice and hone your ability to focus in.


Nothing Practice

This one is a new concept to me, and one that I’m still bad at. Often times, there is so much that I️ want to do and be, I️ fill my days up wall to wall with activities. If I’m not working, I’m working on something else. I’m writing, playing guitar, listening to podcasts, chatting with friends. The nothing practice is setting time in your day where you do absolutely 0 things. Nothing, Nata, Zip. I️ see I­t­ as applying architecture’s concept of negative space with your mind. Designing a building — or a city is important, but how people move and interact within the space is determined by the negative space — the space between structures. So too with our minds. We need to leave room for negative space to give our minds room to rest, rejuvenate, be bored and wonder. I️ think we tap into our unconscious mind when we wonder. The best ideas I’ve ever had in my life have been my minds has wondered off into my imagination.

Creativity and connections happen in the negative space.

 

Do you have any other tips you practice on living in the moment?

Let me know!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

How to Turn Your Worst Setbacks Into Your Greatest Triumphs

For the Last 8 Months, I’ve been sleeping on my parent's couch. (Hard to say, but it’s true)

But in all honesty, life couldn’t be better.

Okay, you might be wondering how have I adopted this mindset?

My life imploded into oblivion after my health continuously became worse.

Here’s what happened:

I sprained my neck about 3 years ago. The first year was hell and it put a lot of things in my life on hold.

I burnt myself out at a job where I was barely making enough to pay rent let alone anything else.

I was unintentionally exposed to bad mold from my apartment which led to weird health issues that were hard to pin down.

Every day I felt more tired than the last. When you go to bed tired and wake up tired you know something is wrong. (But the question is what?) Continuous Signs of Fatigue, Do I have CTF? The worst part is not knowing what’s wrong.

I attempted to make my side-business more than a side-business at the worst possible time. It worked at first, but after having some bad-egg clients, things got worse. (And cue financial problems.) My girlfriend was also having job issues, so I was helping her as much as I could.

I kept talking (complaining *cough cough*) circles around fatigue, ache, money, and other problems that made me and everyone else blue in the face. I started identifying who I was with the problems I had.

I felt isolated and alone. Unable to keep up with my friends, be that energetically or financially.

It’s difficult to be yourself, your whole self, when you’re tired, broken, broke, despairing and on the verge of tears.

All of these setbacks were a one, two, PUNCH on my psyche and on my desire to be the best version of myself I can be.

But here’s the punch line:

I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned the past few years, it’s
Your greatest triumphs come from your worse setbacks.

What separates those who use setbacks to their advantage and use them to surpass where they were, versus those who give up and never recover? (And how do we become the former rather than the latter?)

You are not your problems.

Having an injury or bad job, or health issue, or anxiety, or ______ (insert pain-point here) doesn't me you are that experience. Everyone has issues, even the larger than life characters we look up to, but that doesn't mean that's your identity. Pain is a shared human experience. It's not meant to be bottled up instead. It's meant to be shared and relieved by the hands of others. Pain is a touching point to guide, inspire, and related to others through there own pain.

Every moment in my life where I’ve been broken down and beaten to a pulp by failure and setbacks, Has been the path to my greatest success and growth. As much as I️ would rather not feel the anxiety, frustration, pain, illness and all the negative outcomes of facing setbacks, I️ now see the value and blessing of going through hard times. Once you see the blessings in disguise, you having something to focus on besides the pain itself. Knowing there is a kernel of truth in pain and that truth will help you achieve your wildest dreams is how we can take advantage our worst experiences and allow us to build an extraordinary life.

There are hard-earned lessons in pain. (It’s hard to see this during, and might be impossible to really know what I’m talking about unless you’ve gone through your own share of setbacks) There are also opportunities and abundance in pain too. 

Where am I today?

I’ve got a new apartment, one that I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve got a great job working on Pass It Down and working with Paul Cummings. My business started to thrive when I️ made it my side business again. My relationship with Gabriella and my family has improved. And best of all, I’m thinking less about me and more about you and how I️ can make an impact on your life and on the lives of others everywhere.

How did I get here? What do you do when you are facing down the barrel of a setback?

I️ asked for help. I️ reached out to friends to see if they knew of any work available I️ could take on.
I️ said yes to opportunities that came my way, big or small. I took chances. I created challenges for myself.
I pitched ideas to others to collaborate. Not all of them said yes, but one, two, three yeses are better than none. One yes is all you need to get going.
I️ invested money in going to the doctor and have started to unlock the solutions to my health and energy problems.

I’m still working on my health, my friendships, finances, spirit, creative pursuits (like this blog) and other areas of my life. But as long as I️ focus on improving in each area every day, and remember the lessons learned from my experiences, I️ know any setback I️ face I️ will be able to turn it into my greatest triumphs. And you can too with yours.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Action Steps:

  • Share your pain
  • Look for opportunity and truth when you are facing down the barrel of a setback.

Related Wisdom:

"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom." Rumi

"The struggle of my life created empathy - I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me."Oprah

"A lot of what is most beautiful about the world arises from struggle."Malcolm Gladwell

"Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward."Henry Ford

Making Time for the Most Important Things

How do I motivate myself to do the important things when I don't feel motivated?

"I've noticed that my motivation to start my own freedom business is always at an all-time high when I'm at work, sitting at my desk, with the realization staring me in the face that I do not want to spend the rest of my life sitting in a cubicle all day every day... I feel a burning desire to take immediate action towards a freedom business. The only problem is that I'm at work so I can't! When I'm finally on my own time and can focus on learning and creating the motivation is still there but not nearly of the same caliber.

Have any of you experienced a similar situation? If so, do you have any tips or tricks to channel, on command, that same level of motivation that I feel when I'm face to face with the reality of what my life will continue to be if I don't take action now?"

 

Dear Creative Like Me,

I usually find myself in the same situations after work. A burning desire to work my pursuits — to write, learn, connect, code, design, write songs and build successful business — but also the need to rest.

Such a paradox —When I finally have time for what my soul is pining to do, I feel unmotivated to do them. (Heck!) Even more so recently since my energy hasn't been great, and my three-headed demon.

The need of rest is good, but after resting, it's easy for me to slide into mindlessness, which is the enemy.

Rest is equally important as effort, but mindlessness is the enemy to creativity.

I know I need to spend time creating and pursuing my goals, but I feel exhausted, obligated to other things and others, and reluctant to do so. (Even though I know doing so would create a better reality for me!) 'Maybe Tomorrow', I think. (But you know what they say about tomorrow.)

So what's an motivated unmotivated creative to do?

One solution I've found is to

first re-energize yourself.

  • Go for a walk
  • Mediate
  • Talk to a friend / loved one
  • Read
  • Workout
  • or do something you enjoy that's restful yet mindful

and second, sit down and

Start with purpose and intention.

It doesn't have to be the best thing you've ever done, it just has to be something.

You just have to start and stick with it for as long as your able.

Oddly enough that lazy, tired feeling I have fades away once I start and keep pushing through. I think this idea goes along well with one of Dale Carnegie's strategies for removing worry and despair by 'losing yourself in doing."

Taking action consumes your mind and leaves no space for exhaustion. 

My feeling of reluctance and fatigue doesn't completely go away, but I become more comfortable with it, each day I do it. I think that's how most people find their success, they learn to thrive in un-comfort. They make the uncomfortable, comfortable and do so continuously.

Personal success comes to those with the largest comfort zone.

 

Keep Pursuing,

Josh Waggoner, Renaissance Man.  April 18th 10AM EST, Chattanooga TN

If this article helped, let me know in the comments below, or via email: josh@renaissanceamanlife.com.

Dear Creative Like Me, If you are struggling with something and want some advice, email me your thoughts, and you question might be featured on the RL.

 

related wisdom

 
The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation.
— George Bernard Shaw
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing - that’s why we recommend it daily.
— Zig Ziglar
Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
— Mario Andretti
Dear Hesitant Creative Like Me,

"What if it doesn't work?"

'What if I invest all this time into my idea that I'm really excited about, but it doesn't get the feedback or engagement I would like?'
'Would all my time invested matter?'
'And if people actually like my stuff, how will I keep up with all the engagement and orders?'

 

Dear hesitant Creative Like Me,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I completely understand how you feel.

I was running through the same thoughts when I started my clothing company boldsheep.com (@boldsheep) and when I started this very site.

'What if no one buys anything from me?'

'What if nobody reads or comments on my blog?'

And you know what?

Nobody did.

Nobody bought any shirts, nobody read my posts. Nobody was listening.

(And mom's don't count)

Even though I implicitly told myself I wouldn't, I made every mistake in the book.

Fffffff...

But here's the thing: It was worth it.

Every mistake, every problem, every failure has made me a better and more capable person. 

What if it doesn't work? It probably won't. Do it anyway.

Ask yourself, 'would I rather try and fail or would I rather not try and be exactly where I am now?'

Failure is not an end-point, rather a turning point. It's Life telling you that your idea needs some reworking and tuning.

What about this worked and what didn't? What can I change to earn more engagement? How can I do this better next time? Okay that sucked. What went wrong, and how can I avoid it?

The biggest lesson I can give you about starting something is its okay to fail.

If your idea doesn't work. Keep going. Keep pursuing your dream.

Every good endeavor needs to be honed and crafted.

Reinvent, rework, redesign, pivot, tweak, ask, hone, step back, leap, tack, sprint, redefine..

Do whatever you have to make your idea and yourself better.

And if you must start over with a new idea, take what you learned on your last project and use it to your advantage on your next one.

When it comes to building an audience, focus on helping one person. Focus your efforts on impacting just one person who's your ideal customer / client.

Because each additional follower count you gain is a person on the other end. Someone you might be able to impact.

 

'And if people actually like my stuff, how will I keep up with all the engagement and orders?'

That's a good problem to have. It means what you're doing is working and having an impact.

Stay honest. Ask for help. Let your audience know. Remember, Vulnerability is Relatability.

Things to note and live by:

  • Every single person who made something wonderful started where you are — at the beginning.

On the ground. figuring out things. failing forward. stepping out of their comfort zones.

  • Continuous action creates continuous opportunities.

what you do will have create far greater value to you than what you don't do.

  • No is better than maybe. 

Don't rely on a maybe. Don't let your life be controlled by 'some day i will...'

Everything that you want to do, is still in your head, not on the page. And what you should or could do won't get you anywhere you want to go. 

Everything you can do will change your life for the better if you decide to act on it.

  • Train yourself to think of the positive possibilities, instead of the negative outcomes. 
  • In the end, all the setbacks, frustrations and pains are worth it.

Just because you might fail, doesn't justify saying no to the good you'll give to the world if you say yes instead.

I personally believe you are capable of making your dream a reality.

you should too. Once you do, you'll be on your way.

Remember, today is the best day to start.

I hope this helps you, if it doesn't I'll try again.

#KeepPursuing, Don't Quit Your Day Dream — Josh Waggoner | Feb 3rd 1.30PM EST, Chattanooga TN | Updated Fed 6th

 

If this article helped, let me know in the comments below, or via email: josh@renaissanceamanlife.com.

Dear Creative Like Me, If you are struggling with something and want some advice, email me your thoughts, and you question might be featured on the RL.

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The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.
— Napoleon Hill
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
— Seneca